In a city full of glittering grand dames, the Hotel Danieli is near unrivalled. Set to celebrate it 200th birthday with a colourful array of art programmes, the coveted waterfront address – and the stately rooms within – showcase true architectural Venetian excellence. Perched on the Riva degli Schiavoni, the regal and very old-school 14th-century retreat sits just a short stroll away the Bridge of Sighs and all the buzzing monuments of Piazza San Marco.
Synonymous with splendour, the hotel houses three palaces: Palazzo Dandolo in Venetian Gothic style, once home to the noble Dandolo family; Palazzo Casa Nuova, the city’s former treasury; and Palazzo Danieli Excelsior, redesigned by Jacques Garcia for the modern guest. These are all best described as a golden bounty, filled with marble and Byzantine artworks fit for Royalty. Wander through the vast stretch of interconnecting lobbies, home to period rugs, high-beamed ceilings and collectible curios, and be sure to explore the upper floors to get a glimpse of the hotel’s past.
The rooms are just as dizzyingly magnificent. Traditionally furnished with lacquered furniture, grand Murano chandeliers, silky damask curtains, mammoth beds and ornate mirrors, the more dramatic doubles in the Excelsior building have Doge-ready fabrics and parquet flooring, while suites overlooking the lagoon in the Dandolo or Casa Nuova wing come dotted with kaleidoscopic pastels. Bathrooms are, naturally, opulent, decorated in marble with Venetian-style mirrors and roomy tubs stocked with Acqua di Parma products.
When it comes to dining in Venice, there are few more breath-taking places to perch than upstairs on Terrazza Danieli. The panoramic views of the lagoon are best enjoyed early morning at breakfast or for a romantic dinner at sunset. Savour two tasting menus (think squid ink gnocchi, roast turbot, cannelloni and more) or order à la carte. Request to sit in the far corner inside the restaurant overlooking the terrace for the best seat in the house. Before bedtime, head for Bar Dandolo for a signature Vesper Martini – scenes from Casino Royale were filmed here.
Aside from fitness areas, there’s no pool or spa at Danieli, but guests have full access to the Alberoni Golf Club at the Venice Lido, as well as some of the island’s private beaches. The concierge team will also set up tours of the city’s churches, museums, galleries and shops, along with express trips to the lagoon’s best islands.